by Amy Taylor
Back before the world of antibiotics and Band-Aids, this was the traditional way of bandaging up wounds and stopping bleeding. The phrase is now used as an idiom meaning "get over it." Same thing.
As a kid, I loved being outside; camping, horseback riding, softball, whatever. After college I got a professional job, got married, had some kids…and lost myself. I spent years trying to mold myself into the perfect employee, the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect daughter. Then one day I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize any of those "perfect" people. I don't blame anyone for the loss of my identity, I own that. I wanted so much to make others happy that I forgot about me. And this is where my off-road journey starts…rubbing some dirt in the wounds I created when I finally decided that I didn’t want to be someone else. I needed something that got me back outside, fulfilled my deep need for adventure, and got my TV raised boys OUTSIDE. We needed to heal and we needed some adventure.
Almost as soon as my divorce was final, I traded my boring blue Mom car in on the prettiest red Jeep I could find (don’t worry – I did my research.) I tell people I traded my husband in on the Jeep. Even the men reply "sounds like a good trade." I don’t really mean that to come off negative, I think I just mean I traded that me in on the new me. Just picking him up from the dealership felt like our first adventure together.
My first off-road adventure comes after my favorite part of the story! I was taking over some work from this lady at work I didn’t know that well. We met in a mutual coworker’s office to transition some of both of their work to me as they took different roles. As we were talking, I mentioned I had just bought a Jeep and she said "my husband and I have a Jeep" and the rest, as they say, is history. We’ve been fast friends ever since. Our Jeeps introduced me to the sister of my heart. I have a few blood ones as well that I love just as much, but Carrie never asks questions or says "are you sure?" She just asks "what time are we leaving?" I need all of my sisters in my life, they provide good balance.
Not long after that I joined Carrie and her husband Sean on our first trail together and started our tradition of getting lost on even the simplest trails to follow. Map reading is not a skill we have perfected and maybe don’t want to. We joined Mesa 4Wheelers in Mesa, AZ and took our first trip with the club up the back road to Crown King. I would say we got in over our heads, but they took good care of us and we found our new tribe. Interestingly, our tribe is made up of mostly older men and their wives but they are the most welcoming and helpful group of people I’ve ever met. Carrie and I headed off to California for trail training where I had my first incident that required me to crawl underneath and figure out how to fix something (with some help from Sean.) Sometimes we take our self-made tribes, and sometimes we head off on our adventures without them, sometimes we even leave the Jeeps at home and head off to the beach. "What time are we leaving?" Somewhere along the way my wounds started to heal and the scars faded, and I finally recognize the person in the mirror again.
There’s something about making your way down a waterfall, over a boulder, or just rambling along the side of the mountain that reminds me of the badass I really am. I fell in love again and had my heart broken, I was passed over for promotions I wanted and given jobs I didn’t want, put my head down and finished my MBA, worked through a false alarm on a health issue and through it all the dirt from the trail continued to stop the bleeding, kept the infection out, and helped me get over it.
About a year ago, an opportunity came up for the promotion and my company moved me back home to Colorado. This is where I grew up and my parents and 2 of my sisters live. I was very excited to be going "home" but I think maybe my expectations were a little high. I had been gone for 15 years and perhaps had visions of everything being the same as they were when I left. Looking back, those were pretty silly expectations and moving to Colorado with my two boys with their dad being in Arizona took single parenthood to a whole new level. I’ve settled into life here so now it’s time to take my experiences to a new level. I want to get more involved in the off-road community, complete more than simple repairs myself, find a tribe in Colorado of like-minded wheelers, and dream up some new adventures to take in the dirt. You can’t get through life without some wounds and scars. As long as there's dirt to rub in them, I think I’ll be just fine.
Posted by: Dulcy Rojas